Congregation: Friday sermon & the voluntary prayers

Q114 :I have always understood that the reason that Friday prayer is only two rak'ahs is that the khutbah compensates for the other two which we normally offer in Dhuhr prayer. Some people suggest that it is strongly discouraged to offer voluntary prayer when the speech is being delivered. I have seen people continuing to offer such voluntary prayer when the sermon is in progress. Please comment.

A114 : I think it is wrong to relate the fact that Friday prayer consists of two rak'ahs only to the requirement of having a sermon before it. Otherwise, we would have to say that the sermon should be as long as or as short as the two rak'ahs, or the attendance of the whole sermon would be obligatory to everyone. As it is, Friday prayer is deemed to be offered correctly and in full if one misses the whole of the sermon, but attends the prayer itself. It is certainly most important to attend the sermon and to make sure that one arrives in the mosque early enough to listen to it in full. But that is not a condition for the validity and acceptability of the prayer itself. What we say is that Friday prayer is made in this fashion because God has willed it so. Besides, the sermon is meant to discuss matters of importance which are relevant to the life of the Muslim community, or to remind the worshippers of God and the day of judgment. According to the Maliki school of thought, if a person arrives in the mosque when the sermon is in progress, the only option available to him is to sit down and listen. Other schools of thought make it permissible to offer two short rak'ahs in greeting to the mosque. During the time of the Prophet, a man came into the mosque while the sermon was being delivered by the Prophet. He sat down to listen, but the Prophet interrupted the sermon to tell him to offer two short rak'ahs, and the man complied. The Maliki school of thought considers this a special case because the Prophet wanted to draw the attention of the community to the fact that the man was in a situation of extreme poverty. That would have ensured that he would receive some charitable donations, or sadaqah. Other scholars take it as an indication of permissibility.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )